Each week, we highlight six recommended fantasy pickups (plus a team defense) available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. If you have roster needs, we offer a full menu of options.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (41% rostered)
Minnesota's passing game seemed hopelessly broken after the season's first four weeks, but a visit to MetLife Stadium made everything better, at least temporarily. Cousins completed 22 of 27 attempts for 306 yards (11.3 Y/A) against the Giants, connecting with Adam Thielen on a pair of TD strikes...
No one ever doubted Kirk's ability to carve up the league's softest defenses, and New York definitely fits that description. The Giants have allowed 9.7 yards per attempt and 10 passing scores through five games. Cousins' career record against winning teams is notoriously ugly, but that's not really a pressing fantasy concern. When presented with a favorable matchup, he can produce. Next week the Vikings host Philadelphia, a team that's been dominant against the run (3.2 YPC allowed) but generous to opposing passers (271.2 YPG). It's a situation in which Cousins should deliver another useful fantasy line, probably in a narrow, agonizing loss. In Week 8, we'll be treated to a Cousins revenge game(!) against Washington.
Minnesota finished with more rush attempts than passes against New York on Sunday (34 to 27), we should note, a formula that head coach Mike Zimmer clearly favors. Cousins won't have many high-volume opportunities, so fantasy managers should view him strictly as a streaming option.
FAAB bid: $9 of $100 budget
Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars (23%)
Minshew has thrown nine touchdown passes and just one interception over the past five weeks, so the man is far more than simply a fashion icon. He's a legit NFL passer -- resilient, clever and thoroughly entertaining. He's thrown a pair of TD passes in each of his last three games, developing a terrific connection with must-start breakout star D.J. Chark. Jacksonville's next four games are against teams that have allowed the third, tenth, 17th and eighth most fantasy points to opposing QBs (NO, Cin, NYJ, Hou).
If Nick Foles is healthy when the Jaguars return from their Week 10 bye, the coaching staff could face a rough decision. But for now, let's just continue to enjoy one of the season's more delightful stories.
FAAB bid: $6
Other QBs to consider: Teddy Bridgewater (Jacksonville is on deck following monster game against Bucs), Sam Darnold (timing of his return is still TBD, but he's practicing), Cam Newton (earliest return likely in Week 8, following Carolina's bye)
Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals (2%)
On Sunday, we were reminded why Edmonds is one of our game's most important and roster-worthy handcuff backs...
The little Edmonds that could 🚂 pic.twitter.com/hh0lEmoqIE
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 6, 2019
He was facing a sloppy Cincinnati defense, no question, but Edmonds is a serious talent. He rushed for 68 yards on eight carries in Arizona's win, adding three catches for 18. Predictably, David Johnson feasted as well (156 scrimmage yards), but he also dealt with back discomfort during the game. So that's a situation worth watching as the practice week unfolds.
If Edmonds is in line for an enhanced role in Week 6 against the Falcons D, he'll belong in the flex discussion. Atlanta has allowed 120.8 rushing yards per game thus far.
FAAB bid: $9
Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons (14%)
Yup, we're doing this again. Smith played nearly as many snaps as Devonta Freeman in Sunday's loss to Houston (35 vs. 40), gaining 64 scrimmage yards on 11 touches. In four of Freeman's five games this season, he's averaged less than 3.0 YPC. He and Smith are both capable receivers, so there's no obvious area in which Devonta has separated himself. If Ito sees another 10-12 touches next week at Arizona, he has a great shot to produce 60-plus yards and perhaps break the plane. The Cardinals have allowed 4.8 YPC and 138.8 rushing YPG.
FAAB bid: $6
Additional RBs worth adding: Adrian Peterson (likely to see an uptick in carries because his new coach apparently thinks it's 1978), Gus Edwards (he's the appropriate Ingram handcuff and could see extended run next week in friendly matchup vs. Cincy), Latavius Murray (available in just over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, handled nine touches in Week 5), Mark Walton (desperation add for the deepest leagues; he out-snapped Ballage before the bye while seeing eight touches), Reggie Bonnafon (emerged as the clear handcuff to CMC, roasted Jacksonville's D for a way-too-easy 59-yard score on Sunday), Jon Hilliman (Gallman is concussed, though Saquon could return on Thursday night)
Wide receivers and tight ends
Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams (8%)
You had to know this was coming after Everett's 7-catch, 136-yard binge at Seattle on Thursday night. Thousands of fantasy managers have made the O.J. Howard-for-Everett swap in recent days. A former second-round pick, Everett flashed plenty of potential in his first two seasons, but he's never been anything more than a fifth or sixth option in the Rams' passing game. Over the past two weeks, however, he's caught 12 balls for 180 yards and one score on 19 targets. He was inches away from another touchdown in the Seattle game...
The determination by Gerald Everett on the play that set up the TD 😤 @lightningstrk12
📺: #LARvsSEA on FOX
Learn how to watch: https://t.co/I6INVckndX pic.twitter.com/CRAUS6bXiG
— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2019
...but instead settled for an assist on an easy Gurley score. Everett was dragging around would-be tacklers all night. It's entirely possible that he just played the most useful game of his season, but it's awfully tough to ignore those 19 looks over two games. He'll face the Niners, Falcons and Bengals before L.A.'s bye in Week 9.
FAAB bid: $9
Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons (41%)
It certainly hasn't been pretty at all times, but Matt Ryan has passed for over 300 yards in every game so far this season. He's on pace for a ridiculous 710 pass attempts, 5300 yards and 35 TDs (and 22 interceptions). Naturally, Sanu has been one of the beneficiaries of the Falcons' high-volume passing attack. His five targets on Sunday were actually a season-low, but he caught 'em all, gaining 42 yards and scoring the game's first touchdown. Sanu had caught nine passes for 91 yards on 12 looks the week before. He deserves attention in any sort of PPR format.
FAAB bid: $8
Various other WR/TE options: Jamison Crowder (reminder that he saw 17 targets from Darnold in the opener), Byron Pringle (any Chiefs receiver coming off a 9-target game is an auto-add; coaches have been high on Pringle for months), Diontae Johnson (his QB situation isn't the greatest, but saw another eight balls on Sunday), Chris Herndon (favorite target of Darnold's throughout the summer, now back from suspension), Preston Williams (he's seen 25 targets over his last three games), Duke Williams (the former CFL star found the end-zone on Sunday; he gets Miami when Buffalo returns from bye), Antonio Callaway (back from suspension, still offers big-play potential), Auden Tate (it wasn't a clinic against the Cards, but he managed to cross the goal-line), Darius Slayton (he's a boom/bust type with a tricky matchup at NE ahead)
Carolina Panthers, DEF (45%)
Carolina is second in the NFL in sacks (20) and tied for sixth in takeaways (8), which makes this group one of the highest scoring fantasy D/STs in our game. Somehow, the Panthers are still widely available in Yahoo fantasy leagues. The Bucs are up next on the schedule, which means a date with Jameis Winston (18 sacks, 5 INTs). The pick-six probability is high.
FAAB bid: $2
Other streamable D/STs: Denver Broncos (vs. Ten), Washington (at Mia), Green Bay (vs. Det)